Tips and Tricks for Weaving Overshot

I just love it when I receive the Handwoven magazine in the mail. It comes ever other month and is full of wonderful projects from weavers all over the country. In the March/April 2021 issue I came across this colorful overshot pattern for a table runner. The table runner was designed by Diane Crowder from Missouri. While weaving the runner, I was surprised how easy it was. In the past, I’ve always kind of struggled with overshot. Overshot is unique in that it requires two shuttles and two different treadling. It can get a little clunky and confusing when weaving. After learning a few tips and tricks from other weavers, I found weaving overshot effortless (well as effortless as it can be).

Understanding the Basics of Weaving Overshot

Before we get into the tips and tricks of weaving overshot, it’ll be helpful to understand the very basics. Overshot requires two shuttles. The first shuttle contains a thinner yarn which is often the same size as the yarn used for the warp. This yarn provides the structure for your fabric. You will be weaving tabby (aka plain weave) with this yarn. For this project, we used 8/2 unmercerized cotton. In overshot, the second shuttle contains a thicker yarn. This yarn is used for the pattern of the fabric. It will have longer floats so it provides the design. In this project, 3/2 pearl cotton (aka mercerized cotton) was used.

When weaving, the shuttles follow each other. First you throw shuttle one using tabby, beat, throw shuttle two (pattern), beat, throw shuttle one on tabby, beat, throw shuttle two…..and so on. So that’s the very basics of overshot.

Tip One

Tip one involves how you set up your treadles. Remember shuttle one will be weaving tabby and shuttle two, the pattern. This means you will need two sets of treadles- one tabby, one pattern. One foot will be weaving tabby and the other pattern. In the picture below, I set it up so that my right foot will weave tabby and my left, the pattern weave which, in this pattern, required 4 treadles. Notice there is a space between the two systems as the one treadle between the two is not hooked to the shafts on my floor loom.

Tip Two

Tip two involves weaving the tabby. This is probably the most helpful tip that changed weaving overshot for me. So… here it goes. When you are throwing your tabby pick from the right side of your project, depress the right treadle on the tabby section. When throwing the tabby shuttle from the left side, depress the left treadle. Sounds so simple, right? This was a game changer. Really it was. I didn’t have to think where I left off from the tabby weave if I walked away from the loom for a bit.

Tip Three

Tip three involves shuttle management. After throwing a shuttle, whether it’s the tabby shuttle or pattern shuttle, place it behind the other shuttle. Pick up the shuttle in front, weave your pick, beat, and place it behind the other shuttle and continue. The consistency in which you change your shuttles will create a consistent selvage on your fabric. For this tip, it’s much easier to see than to explain. Be sure to watch the YouTube video. It’ll make much more sense.

Finished Table Runner

Well, here it is- the finished table runner. I just love it. I only wish the pictures can do it justice. The orange just pops!

Resources

Weaving overshot can be tons of fun. During the pandemic, many weaving instructors moved instruction to an online format. Janet Dawson put on an excellent course on weaving overshot. If you are interested in learning this weave structure, you’ll want to be sure to check out this resource. Janet Dawson’s Online Courses.

Items and Resources Used in this Project:

Happy weaving and I hope these three tips will make weaving overshot a little easier.

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